Musings about life

Space hoppers: the new cross-training technique

Thursday was the annual Staff Day Out for the International Bar Association. Now, you’d think that spending an entire day on a farm playing traditional English school games with a bunch of lawyers would be about as exciting as, well, sitting in a room with a bunch of lawyers (ha)… but not so!

We were all split up into teams about a week before the grand event. That’s when the emails and secret meetings started. Suddenly my inbox became inundated with emails
written in CAPS.



We should have named ourselves the Red October with the amount of covert operations going on in the office! There were seven members on our team so we decided to base our name (and theme) around that…The Seven Dwarfs? James Bond 007? We settled on the Seven Deadly Sins…
I chose pride. Now, it is easy to find an ugly prom dress outfit with oversized, loud accessories (er, I mean, different from my usual oversized accessories…), but try finding one that is also functional for traditional English games (I still didn’t really know what that meant at that point). There I was on my lunch hour the day before the Staff Day Out, in the change room of a hideously tacky store on Oxford Street (appropriately titled ‘Hyper Hyper’), testing out the range of motion of various nasty dresses as I lunged around the room. Good fun. With a few additional purchases of gloves and a giant pink flower for my hair, I was set.
On the day of the outing, we all met at the Charing Cross rail station and boarded a train for Kent. This was the first glance we got of our competition’s costumes…As you can see from the photo posted above, one of the other teams decided to go as techno/raver kids. If you knew these guys, you’d find this photo hilarious, trust me!
Egg and spoon races, three-legged races, and sack races followed shortly after arriving on the farm. The hilarity increased with each event, until the ultimate SPACE HOPPER RACE!!!  I had no idea what a space hopper was, but I couldn’t wait to

 start hopping.
Apparently, “space hoppers”, or Hoppity hops, kangaroo balls, bouncers, skippyballs, Hippity hips, and hop balls, were introduced in the UK in 1971 and school kids (and apparently lawyers) have been bouncing on them ever since. They are basically inflatable workout balls with a handle, which you hold onto for dear life as you awkwardly attempt to bounce your way along. When my turn came up on the space hopper, I was laughing so hard I thought I might lose my vision. The only design flaw in the outfit was the giant string of pearls, which came up and whacked me in the teeth with each
bounce. I can just picture how that conversation would go in the emergency room….
Well, you see doctor, I knocked out my front teeth with my fake pearl necklace while bouncing on my space hopper.
Well, sadly enough, my team came in LAST in every event…But we did win the costume award, so that helped heal our wounds!  I think my team expected my ultrarunning skills to translate into crazy good egg and spoon talent, but alas….
The rest of the day consisted of eating a giant hog (ah, the traditional English hog roast?),

drinking, eating, and cheering on the top teams as they fought their way to glory. Then we boarded a train back to the city and plunked ourselves down in a bar — some still in costume, others not. With a Phil Collins tribute band
playing to help top the night off, it was just Another Day in Paradise….

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